The stage has been set in the State House for a prolonged standoff between House and Senate leaders over re-drawing Maryland's congressional boundary lines. The two chambers yesterday put forward conflicting proposals, neither of which stands much chance of final passage. Finding a way out of this gridlock will take considerable flexibility on both sides.
Of the two bills approved yesterday, the House proposal is preferable. It is seriously flawed, though, in that it, too, mutilates Baltimore County, sending slivers of the county's populace to districts controlled by the Eastern Shore, Western Maryland and Anne Arundel County. Yet these defects pale in comparison with the unacceptable provisions of the Senate bill, which tears Baltimore County communities asunder, stretches the Western Maryland district all the way to the Susquehanna River and illogically links Harford County to the Eastern Shore and Howard County to the Washington region.
House Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell is adamantly sticking by his House plan. Not surprisingly, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller is doing likewise with his plan. But there are strong indications that neither leader has found overwhelming support for his proposal.